Hilary 2018 report

What happened this term

I first want to talk about the goals I set in December 2017 and which ones I’ve achieved.


I didn’t hit my goal of two Firsts, although I was close. I did some good revision for Economics and managed to get a score of 73, which would be higher had I not made a silly careless mistake in the problem set. I’m very happy with my essay (73 in both essay and problem set)—thanks to Harry, one of the graduate mentors, for looking through my work and giving me good and actionable feedback.

However, I didn’t do enough revision for Logic. I was able to smash the Natural Deduction question (20/25) easily, but I didn’t do enough definition revision (because it was hard). I have to stop being lazy and do important but difficult revision rather than merely easy revision.

I expected that two essays a week would be tough, but I found it surprisingly OK. I found myself enjoying politics more than I expected (Sergi is an absolute dear), and am now flirting with the idea of doing politics instead of philosophy.

We had our annual Warden’s collections. Every tutor said I was doing well. Simon finally released his OXCORT which said that I am very fast and very smart, although hampered by poor question selection, but he “[predicts] a clear Distinction”. That’s good to hear. Sergi said I had three main strengths: I’m quantitative and analytical, with an excellent grasp of research methodology. I’m creative, with an interesting way of approaching the essays. Lastly, I’m assertive: I write with a good tone (honed by many years of writing argumentative essays, I suppose). However, I have two big flaws. Firstly, I generally have trouble tying the readings with the essay question. This doesn’t make my essays bad; they are still “decent to good”, but I will need to read more comprehensively and holistically throughout the vac to round out my undertanding. Secondly, I am too ambitious: I try to cover a lot of ground in my essays but sacrifice depth as a result. He said that I often hit upon a very good point but then just touch and go, whereas if I’d really focused on it it would be extremely strong. So these are my two main problems. Bassel had only nice things to say, he liked my collections and my learning attitude, but I shan’t go into too much detail as I don’t want this paragraph to be too self-congratulatory.

All in all, I had a good term academically, I think I put good effort into my essays (most weeks), and had less motivation/momentum issues this term than in Michaelmas term.


I was quite consistent these past eight weeks and have made reasonably good progress. However, I often skip the light session on Wednesday and I always skip deadlifts, which is bad.

My last workout on Friday 9th March was:

I am happy with the progress I have made on both the squat and the bench. I feel like I have a lot of room left to grow on the squat, as the sets are reasonably easy— which is good, because the people doing Varsity this year in my weight class were squatting 180, 190 and pulling 200kg.

I didn’t row at all this Hilary, which was probably a good idea because it was extremely cold and a couple of days in Torpids were cancelled because of the snow.


Not so good; one of the internships was called off. My handler left IMDA so I have a new handler. But I really really need to clear both internship obligations in one summer. I will follow up with my new handler.

I received my allowance from IMDA in January but haven’t put it in the S&P500 yet. This is unacceptable.

I need to borrow Conor’s computer and do the stupid stock quiz.


I feel like I have made some progress on my relationships. I have cooked for several people that I didn’t in Michaelmas.

Despite the fact that the cliques in Merton have solidified a little bit, I was still able to make some new friends. I think if I want to make new friends, I should head over to the bar more. I feel like I have gotten closer to some people that I already knew in Michaelmas, like Leo, Filip and Julianna (you’ll have to ask them whether they feel the same way).

I am still single but it doesn’t bother me that much right now. I still have to figure out i) exactly what I want in a relationship and ii) whether or not anyone will agree to exactly what I want, and if not do I change what I want or do I stay single? At the current moment, I am not interested in getting with random girls from Bridge either.

Other comments

Areas for improvement

Just like in Michaelmas, cooking takes up too much time. However, I really enjoy it. Furthermore, cooking for myself means I’m able to know exactly how much protein I eat. I think I want to cook for only one other person every day—I’ve found how easy and quick it is to cook for one after cooking for myself during Telethon.

I have to fix my sleep schedule as I was sleeping at 2am and waking up at 11am or noon and missing lectures.

Gym-wise, don’t skip the Tues Thurs Wed Sat workouts, and don’t skip deadlifts either!!!

Social wise, maybe I will want to ask people to come and join me for dinner one on one? Would that be too weird?

Plans for the vac

I’m spending Week 9 and 10 doing the Telethon. The shifts on weekdays start from dinner in the hall at 1745 and end at 2130, which means I have the daylight hours to go to the gym and study hard.

2 hours in gym, 1 hour meal, 1 1/2 hour degree, 1 1/2 hour computer science makes a total of 6 hours a day. Meaning I have to start my day at 1100 which isn’t too bad lol.

When am I going to start my QSTEP planning? I think devote half an hour per day thinking, drafting out topics, exploring Lijphart’s data a little bit.

Things I have to do for my degree:

  1. Research and write a honourable-mention QSTEP essay.
  2. Practice essays for Politics and Philosophy
  3. Go back and revise Logic again, working through the ND pack paying attention to the questions I missed the last time, and really nailing down the definitions

Things I have to do for CS:

  1. Linear Algebra (finish ASAP! I actually still have so many worksheets left; 5 6 7 1 2 3 4)
  2. Leetcode (If I do a problem a weekday, I can make really good progress.)

I have to read for Politics, and do practice essays for Politics and Philosophy, to get the feel of writing essays under time pressure. I’ll contact the Graduate Mentors (Luke, Harry) and ask them for help over the vac.

After that, I’m going to travel Europe. I may or may not do work during that time; we’ll see.

Goals for next term


I’m OK with a >65 for Politics and Philosophy collections, no First needed. Would be nice to have one First though, just to keep the 40 pounds rolling in.

A Distinction (200/300) for Prelims is non-negotiable. I’m not aiming to get any higher than that because it doesn’t really matter, though I think Jarel got 216 or something.

I definitely want to get a First in Economics.

Work out 6 days a week consistently. Not to wake up after 9am on weekdays.


As mentioned, to be competitive for Varsity I at least need a 450kg total.

Probably want to bulk a bit until 72 then slowly cut down to look good for summer.

If I can squat 150kg for 6 reps or 155kg for 5 reps, that’s equivalent to 180kg ORM (according to the calculator). I think a good goal is 145kg x 5 by summer, and 155 x 5 by Varsity, to hit a 180kg squat.

I think the calculator is underestimating how much I can bench, because I’m quite sure I can do 100kg for a double. It would be amazing to hit 95kg x 5 by summer and 102.5kg x 5 for Varsity for a very respectable 120kg ORM.

Do not skip deadlifts and look into learning sumo.


If I want to get attached, I must be very clear with what sort of relationships I am looking for at this moment. Then I can think about who do I like, why do I like them, how do I go for them and so on.

But then the summer break is very long. Maybe better to do it 2nd year Michaelmas. Otherwise if I get together with someone in Trinity also very hard to 熬… See how la. Not like I anytime want to get can get…


Judy mentioned that we can plan an OXCAR trip to Netherlands in Trinity. Just two days maybe, because I’ve to study for my Prelims. If I am judicious and hardworking in the vac, I’ll be able to go.

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